Vitamin A Overdose, Toxicity, Deficiency: Signs & Recovery

What is the recommended dosage of Vitamin A to avoid overdose, deficiency, or toxicity? Well, vitamin A doses vary based on a number of factors as outlined below.

This post exclusively examines the different levels of consumption that are considered toxic to the body. Additionally, I will examine the common deficiency symptoms and remedies for retinol overdose.

What is Vitamin A Overdose & Toxicity?

Vitamin A overdose refers to situations where there are higher levels of vitamin A in one’s body. The high doses of these vitamins result in toxicity.

Therefore, vitamin A toxicity refers to the condition when you have large amounts of vitamin A in your body.  These vitamins accumulate in your body over a long period before you get to develop this condition.

Vitamin A Overdose Signs and Symptoms

In case you notice any of the following signs and symptoms know you are suffering from an overdose of vitamin A.

  • Swelling of the bones
  • Dry and rough skin
  • Dizziness
  • Bone pain
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irritability
  • Increased pressure on the brain
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Peeling or itchy skin
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Hair loss
  • Jaundice or yellowed skin
  • Respiratory infection
  • Confusion
  • Skin cracks at the corners of your mouth
  • Cracked fingernails

The above signs and symptoms mainly occur across people of all ages, but in children or infants, you may see these additional symptoms.

  • Double vision
  • Coma
  • Inability to gain weight
  • Unstiffening of the skull bone
  • Fontanel – the protruding of the soft spot on the top of a child’s skull

Caution: In pregnant women, the overdose of vitamin A just like the abuse of substances or drugs may result in infant defects, which may interfere with the normal or future lives of such children.

Therefore, pregnant women should try as much as possible to avoid excessive vitamin A consumption.

How to Treat Vitamin A Overdose

We are always reminded that prevention of a condition is better than a cure! Indeed, that is what we should do to avoid vitamin A overdose. The best remedy to prevent vitamin A overdose is to take the recommended amounts of vitamin A.

The information about how much vitamin A we should consume based on our health conditions and ages is always available on the internet. However, if you fail to understand, you are always free to consult the doctor.

In severe vitamin A toxicity cases, the victims may need:

  1. Hydration, steroids (IV, hydrocortisone 100 mg per day)
  2. Diuretics
  3. Mithramycin (IV, 25 mcg/kg per day for 4 to 6 hours for 1-4 days)
  4. Calcitonin (5-8 UI/kg over 6- 12 hours)

N/B: In situations where large amounts of fluids cannot be given, hemodialysis or peritoneal may be necessary.

READ MORE: Does vitamin A cause hair loss?

Vitamin A Deficiency

What is Vitamin A deficiency? What are the signs and symptoms of vitamin A deficiency?

A deficiency of vitamin A simply means you lack vitamin A in your tissues and blood or the body in general.

An important aspect to note with this condition is that it is usually found in poorer states but finding it in developed countries is difficult.

The commonest and first sign of the lack of vitamin A is night blindness or Nyctalopia, as it is scientifically known. Additional signs include frequent infections, dry skin, dry eyes, and spots in the eyeball.

Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) Treatment & Prevention

The best way to prevent VAD is by eating foods that are recommended by Dietary experts. The foods include

  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Whole mile
  • Liver
  • Chicken
  • Fortified milk
  • Mangoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Kale, spinach, and other types of vegetables

N/B Several breakfast foods like bread, cereals, cereal grain bars, and crackers are usually fortified with ten to fifteen percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin A.

If you cannot find or afford these kinds of foods on a daily basis, you can consult dietary specialists.  These specialists will give you the best and cheap food alternatives, which you will be able to eat every day.

Nevertheless, never forget that the above are some of the best sources of vitamin E. Therefore, you may be forced to buy and eat them at least once a week.

vitamin A overdose & deficiency
Vitamin A Sources

This will help you improve your blood or tissue vitamin A levels.

For VAD syndromes, the recommended medicines including the daily oral supplements include:

  1. 600 mcg or 2000 IU for children with 3 years and below
  2. 900 mcg or 3000 IU for kids, 4 to 8 years old
  3. 1700 mcg or 5665 IU for children with 9-13 years
  4. 2800 mcg or 9335 IU for children aged 14 to 18 years
  5. 3000 mcg or 10,000 IU for adults, all persons with over eighteen years

Vitamin A Dosage – Recommended Doses

Specific Groups Vitamin A Dosage Recommendation (Per day)
1.       Individuals with Acne High doses (between 50,000 to 100,000 IU
2.       Adults (above 18 years)10, 000 IU/ 3000 Micrograms
3.       Kids and Children
  • Up to 3 years – 2, 000 IU
  • 4-8 years – 3, 000 IU
  • 9-13 years – 6,000 IU
  • 14- 18 years- 9,000 IU
4.       Pregnancy
  • 14- 18 years – 9, 000 IU
  • 19 years and above- 10,000 IU
5.       Measles 200,000 IU for two days (100, 000 per day)
6.       Dogs Minimum- 2, 272 IU
7.       Skin
  • For children it is advisable you consult a doctor to give correct prescriptions based on the type of the child’s skin.
  • For adults, take 10, 000 IU per day to improve the state of your skin.

READ MORE: Vitamin A dosage for adults and children.

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